With Champions League qualification already in the bag, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck will lead a young Manchester United attack against Galatasaray tomorrow – and Phil Jones is ready to make his first season appearance.
The duo have been forced into sparing roles as Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney spurred on the Reds frontline but will join a transformed side for the penultimate group encounter as the England centreback prepares to emulate Chris Smalling’s impressive injury return.
With experienced heads Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice not included in the trip to Turkey Rooney was in line for his return following more than a week on the sidelines – but has failed to recover from a throat infection.
Before assessing his striker’s fitness, Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: “[Rooney’s] had tonsillitis and we hope he’ll be in today – we’ll see what he’s like then.
“If he does [come in] hopefully we can get him ready for Tuesday.”
But with the England ace staying in Manchester, there’s room for United’s youth academy to break into the first-team and earn their first taste of Europe’s elite competition.
Nick Powell joins Josh King, Davide Petrucci, Tom Thorpe and Ryan Tunnicliffe in travelling to Istanbul for what is in effect a friendly tie for the Reds, who will be hoping to continue their run as the only 100% winning team in the competition.
But with qualification still possible for the Turkish champions, they will have to fight for victory to fend off the hunt for knockout football from Braga and CFR Cluj.
Squad: Sam Johnstone, Anders Lindegaard, Rafael, Alexander Buttner, Phil Jones, Tom Thorpe, Marnick Vermijl, Scott Wootton, Michael Carrick, Davide Petrucci, Larnell Cole, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Nick Powell, Ashley Young, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Javier Hernandez, Joshua King, Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda.